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With Utah In Rearview, Park City Runner's Cross-Country Record Goal Is ‘Definitely Achievable’

Jordan Moon Instagram

An ultra-marathoner who spent the past year training in Park City is in the middle of an effort to break the record for the fastest time running across the country.

Jordan Moon, a 33-year-old from Georgia, is trying to cross the country in 42 days on foot. That’s a route of nearly 3,000 miles through 12 states from San Francisco City Hall to New York City Hall. To break the record, he’ll need to average 72 miles a day.

“It’s been a great trip so far,” he said. “I’m happy to be through and out of the Wasatch Mountains. The first day through the Wasatch was a big climb, and then yesterday was a huge descent down Indian Canyon into Duchesne. But everything is going well on the trip. Some days, we’ve had lower mileage due to climbing, and we’re looking to make up and push some big days when we get closer toward the plains and the Midwest.”

He credited his time in Park City for preparing to take on steep climbs and high elevation. He’d train in town before and after work, running on urban and mountain trails, and paved and dirt roads.

Days after entering Utah on Highway 50, he used that training to push through the Wasatch Mountains between Nephi and Duchesne.

On Wednesday, he was above 7,500 feet of elevation all day before descending into Duchesne. After 21 days, he’d gained 51,000 feet of elevation total.

“It was an unbelievable experience living in Park City, and I’ll be back in Park City after my run,” he said. “I came out one 4th of July and visited, and when I saw the town infrastructure – how they have the trail systems, the rail trail, the concrete and asphalt trails top Kimball all the way to Park City – everything was designed perfectly. I could go anywhere I wanted in the entire town on foot.”

The record for the fastest coast-to-coast run belongs to Pete Kostelnick, who did it in 42 days, six hours and 30 minutes in 2016. That broke a record time of 46 days that had stood since 1980.

“That’s never coming out of my sights, so it’s definitely achievable,” Moon said. “There’s going to have to be some longer days when we have lower elevation and flatter terrain. The Sierra Nevadas were very difficult – steep grades, big climbs, so that took time out of the day for us with our average pace. But I’m not counting anything out. I’ve got a huge goal, I’m going for it.”

He credited his team, the communities of the places he’s come through and friends for energizing him along his way.

“High highs and low lows” he’s experienced have come amid rain in the desert, dust storms, hard climbs, extreme temperatures, schedule adjustments and other obstacles.

Part of his reasons to run is to raise money and awareness for the American Brain Foundation. In low moments, he thinks about the people he’s running for.

He said, “My biggest mentor is my dad’s father. My grandfather passed away a few years ago, right after he had a stroke which changed his life completely. Right now, my grandmother is battling with dementia, and that is impacting my family on a daily basis. And as well, my uncle passed away from brain cancer. So, brain disease affects one out of every six humans. So, when I was thinking about this run, I was like, ‘If there’s anything I can do with this goal that I have to help others, I’m going to do so.”

He crossed into Colorado this morning. The state brings two more big climbs, Rabbit Ears Pass near Steamboat Springs and Cameron Pass outside Fort Collins. Fort Collins represents a homecoming – he went to school there at Colorado State, and two of his crew members live there.

Having crossed the 1,000-mile threshold, he plans to make up for lost time in the plains beginning in the second half of Colorado. 

To keep up with Moon’s progress, visit his website with a live GPS tracker at theamericanrunner.com. Links to donate to his crew and the American Brain Foundation can be found there, as well as his Instagram page under the username “theamericanrunner.”

Visit his GoFundMe page to donate to his team, as well as his fundraiser page with  the American Brain Foundation.

Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.